Family begs for identity to be shielded

 

The family of the Adelaide woman who accused Attorney-General Christian Porter of a historical rape has pleaded with the media not to identify their "beloved" daughter amid fresh claims she told a friend and a counsellor of her alleged ordeal years ago.

The champion debater's family has revealed they understand that friends and family wanted to say her name, but asked that the media refrain from identifying her or using her image.

"The family appreciates that those who knew their beloved daughter will refer to her by name in private,'' the family said.

"However, in relation to media organisations they request that their deceased daughter not be referred to by name and that there be no images or recordings published from which she might reasonably be identified.

"The media attention over this last week has intensified the grief that they are already enduring.

"They again request that their privacy be respected at this difficult time."

The plea for privacy came amid explosive new claims on the ABC's Four Corners that the woman first told a counsellor about the allegations years ago.

A postcard written by the accuser and sent to her ex-husband from Perth in 1994, shared here with his permission, with identifying details blurred. Picture: Supplied
A postcard written by the accuser and sent to her ex-husband from Perth in 1994, shared here with his permission, with identifying details blurred. Picture: Supplied

 

The woman's ex-husband has also told news.com.au that he has postcards confirming she travelled to Perth in 1994, the same date she claims she caught up with Mr Porter.

The Attorney-General has claimed he knew her for the "briefest" of periods in 1988, but the woman claimed they were in contact over 1986 to 1988 in debating circles and met in Perth in 1994.

Mr Porter's spokesperson has stated it is "not impossible" that the 1994 meeting occurred but he does not recall this.

Four Corners revealed on Monday that the woman first sought help from the counsellor in about 2013 and saw her six times.

The counsellor told Four Corners the woman spoke of a boy called Christian who she had been debating with. The account is at odds with claims raised in Crikey that her allegations are recently "recovered memories" - a theory her friends reject.

The counsellor said the woman was "extremely articulate", "not delusional", and volunteered the allegation of her own volition - blowing open the idea, which was reported over the weekend, that she somehow "recovered" her memory of the attack by visiting a controversial Sydney psychologist.

"She told me she had always remembered it," the counsellor said.

RELATED: PM backs inquest into alleged Porter rape

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The woman made a report to the police in 2019, however she withdrew her complaint just 24 hours before dying by suicide in Adelaide in June 2020 citing mental health concerns. NSW Police have since confirmed that the case is closed.

Amid pressure for an independent inquiry into the allegation, the NSW police force's commissioner Mick Fuller said today that the case would have struggled to get to court.

"It is not impossible but almost impossible to proceed with a matter like this without the (alleged) victim," Mr Fuller told 2GB radio.

"The matter itself, even with the (alleged) victim, probably would've struggled to get before a court. These are challenging matters, particularly when they're historic."

Mr Porter last week addressed the media to strenuously deny all allegations against him, saying "it just didn't happen".

"I was 17 years old and the other person was 16. We were both selected, with two others, on the Australian Schools Debating Team and we went to Sydney University for an international competition. It was a long time ago and I'd always remembered it as a happy time," Mr Porter told reporters last week.

"But I can say categorically that what has been put in various forms and allegations simply did not happen."

The psychiatric history of the Adelaide woman, including previous suicide attempts, and two factual errors in her statement have prompted speculation that she may have used repressed memory theory to access her trauma.

The South Australian Coroner is yet to decide whether to conduct a formal inquiry into the woman's death.

During last night's Four Corners, reporter Louise Milligan revealed that the ABC was aware of the rape allegation when they put to air last year's report "Inside the Canberra Bubble" but were unable to report the claims for legal reasons.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had revealed in the original documentary that he had questioned Mr Porter about his conduct in Canberra bars.

"I had a meeting with Porter in my office and I told him that I had had reports of him being out in public, having had too much to drink, and in the company with young women,'' Mr Turnbull said.

 

RELATED: Photo of alleged teen victim with minister

The photo that it’s claimed shows Mr Porter and the alleged rape victim on the same night of the alleged attack. Picture: news.com.au
The photo that it’s claimed shows Mr Porter and the alleged rape victim on the same night of the alleged attack. Picture: news.com.au

"And he didn't argue with that. And I just said, 'Look, this is unacceptable conduct for a Cabinet Minister, and it exposes you to the risk of compromise.'"

Mr Porter, who is now a single man and is separated from his second wife, has vehemently denied reports that he kissed a Liberal staffer in a bar in the night in question.

However, he has conceded he regretted some of the things he wrote in university law journals that were raised by the original Four Corners report, including his "joke" that female lawyers were "well-dressed prostitutes" and that a debating opponent's case had "more holes than Snow White's hymen."

Regardless of those remarks, Mr Porter said the allegations of rape were completely untrue and utterly devastating.

An anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister was penned by ‘friends’ of the woman. Picture: Supplied
An anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister was penned by ‘friends’ of the woman. Picture: Supplied

"If I stand down from my position as Attorney-General because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life's work, then any person in Australia their job, their life's work, based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print. My guess is that if I were to resign and that set a new standard, well, there wouldn't be much need for an Attorney-General anyway, because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country."

One of the members of the debating team, Matthew Deeble, told Four Corners that he remembers the woman going out after dinner but that he didn't know what happened after that.

"I attended the dinner, but I was leaving to go back to Melbourne reasonably early the next day, and so I attended the dinner and then headed back to the dormitory rooms where we were billeted during the event, and (the woman) and others continued on out that night, where we were billeted during the event, and (the woman) and others continued on out that night,'' he said.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Family begs for identity to be shielded


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